Verbal prefixation in German child and adult language

Behrens, Heike (2003) Verbal prefixation in German child and adult language. Acta Linguistica Hungarica, 50 (1-2). pp. 41-59. ISSN 1216-8076


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Previous research has demonstrated that children pick up even small differences in the lexicalization patterns of closely related languages quickly and successfully. This study examines verbal prefixation in German child and adult language, using a particularly detailed case study. The data show that the child starts to produce prefixed verbs and prepositional phrases within a few months. More crucially, the child's speech gets attuned to the precise frequency distribution of these constructions in the input. These findings support theories of linguistic relativity whichemphasize the importance of the conventionality in language use for language processing and acquisition. A look at the input language reveals that the adults use hundreds of lexical items per hour which provide information about the use of verbal prefixation. Also, input frequencies did not change over time. This suggests that the structural properties of a given language are very stable, and help the child to become a proficient speaker.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom > P0 Philology. Linguistics / filológia, nyelvészet
Depositing User: xFruzsina xPataki
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 19:59
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 19:59

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